Friday, November 20, 2015

One Year of Being a Published Author

It was one year ago today that my first novel The Immortality Game was officially published. It feels so much longer. Normally time seems to fly by so quickly, especially as I age, but somehow when it comes to publishing the opposite is true. It feels about three years since I first published a book!
artwork © Stephan Martiniere
I suppose part of that is that I took all of what I had written over the past ten years and prepared it and published it in three separate books this year, as well as publishing two short stories in anthologies with other authors. I feel so busy all the time.

The drawback is that I haven't been able to write much over the past year. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I am going to be writing next, but that's the easiest part. I need to actually write it down, and that hasn't been happening. As an unknown indie writer, if I don't expend a lot of energy just in trying to let people know my books exist, then my books remain invisible and go nowhere.

So how has this first publishing year gone? Not great, but not so badly either. Here are some numbers:

Here is my first novel (published--I actually wrote The Shard first). It was published 'wide', meaning not exclusive to Amazon. I published the paperback through IngramSpark. The number of paperbacks sold in one year:

IngramSpark: 102 paperbacks

The ebook was sold via Amazon, B&N Nook, iTunes, GooglePlay, and Kobo.

Amazon US: 1672
Amazon UK: 35
Amazon France: 5
Amazon Germany: 13
Amazon Canada: 15
Amazon Australia: 6
Amazon Spain: 1
Amazon India: 1
Amazon Italy: 1
B&N: 260
iTunes: 71
GooglePlay: 30
Kobo: Site is down so I can't get numbers, but it was only around 30 or so

So that isn't too bad, but not what one dreams about selling. October was the best month for me due to a Bookbub ad that I ran. That landed The Immortality Game at #1 in Cyberpunk on Amazon for three straight days and #116 overall on Amazon.

My second release was The Shard in March. I sold it exclusively on Amazon via the Kindle Unlimited program, so I don't know all sales due to the fact that Amazon started telling authors about number of pages read via the KU program, and that isn't very helpful as far as tracking sales goes. Here are the numbers I do know about:

Paperbacks sold: 13
Amazon US: 78
Amazon UK: 6
Amazon India: 1
Amazon Australia: 3
Amazon Germany: 3
Amazon Canada: 2

I published Lord Fish, a collection of short stories, in August. Like The Shard, I made it exclusive to Amazon in the KU program, so I don't know about sales via KU.

I won't break this one out by country, since the number of sales hasn't been high enough to make it worthwhile. The number of sales also includes a Countdown Deal where it was free for one week. The number of sales in total has been 66. The price didn't seem to matter. I tried it at .99 and sold only one, so I raised it to 2.99 to see if it would give it a better profile, and sold a bit better.

The final result is that I'm fairly content with how The Immortality Game is doing, while the other two books remain invisible so far. Reviews of all books have been mainly very positive, and I really appreciate those who have taken the time to leave a review, as they are pure gold to indie writers. I'll end the post with links to the two anthologies that published stories by me during this past year. Please note that both of these stories are also published in Lord Fish.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Future Catches Up

A mind-blowing thing happened to me today. I saw a new review on Amazon, and it had a piece of information that simply amazed me.

Here is the review:

"Amazing debut! I would have given this book 6 stars but took one off because the author didn't seem to know that the Gsh-18 pistol does not have a safety. There are already several reviews which tell about the book and the story so I'll just mention one of the really stand-out qualities that sets this book apart from lesser efforts. The characters and their interactions are layered in ways that subtly hint at a very mature and developed sensibility on the part of the author. He doesn't beat you over the head with it but, I came to realize the depths of the characters about a third of the way through the book when I wondered what it was that kept drawing me in. This quality of recognizing relationships and histories in the characters and bringing them out without spelling them out was an amazing feat by the author. I'll be looking for more by Ted Cross."
Zoya, Illustration © Stephan Martiniere
Well, first of all it's really great to see someone view the development path of the characters the way I meant it to be. But it's the mention of the GSH-18 pistol that blew my mind. You may not know this, but I began writing the The Immortality Game quite a few years ago. When I reached the part where I needed to use a newer model of gun, I decided I wanted it to be 'old' from the perspective of the characters in the year 2138, but I also wanted it to be 'in the future' from our perspective. So I looked up some models of pistol and chose the GSH brand, and I then added some numbers to it so that it would be a 'future' model.

Now it is possible that the GSH-18 was already being mentioned at that time and I simply missed it. But as far as I recall, there was no GSH-18 when I wrote that part, and yet it now exists today. I didn't expect the future to come whipping by so fast!